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Hairdos and Don’ts

By Dayna Patterson

She would have me kneel in front of her, asking please hold still, while she yanked the brush through my hair. I’d sit and stare or watch TV as lock by lock she’d roll with rags or curlers, double Dutch braid, fishtail, or crown my blonde all prim for Easter. She’d have me flip my …

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The Long and the Short (and the Straight and the Curly) of It.

By Kylie Turley

SO I’M SHALLOW. I should be writing some deep essay about love, life, depression, or death, and instead I choose to tell you about my hair. You see, here’s the deal: it used to be curly. Not a little curly, but crazy-gorgeous, wavy-brunette-curls curly. It was strangers-stop-me-on-the-street-to-ask-about-it curly. I admit that for a few teenage years, …

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Hair Today, Crone Tomorrow

By Kellie Purcill

A few weeks ago, close to the mirror, pondering how long I could reasonably go before a haircut I thought “Hey, my highlights aren’t growing out!” Another look. A closer, held breath examination. My highlights aren’t highlights – they’re white hairs. A whole forest of them, boldly snuggled in with the aggressively orange/red strands. That’s …

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Is blonde hair better than black hair?

By Shelah Miner

My three-year-old daughter Rose stands in the bathroom, admiring the pigtails I just put in her hair. “You look beautiful,” I say, and she nods her head. “You are lucky to have such shiny black hair,” I say. She shakes her head and stomps her foot, “I NOT have black hair, Mama. I have blonde …

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Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

By Kellie Purcill

Hair1987 – I’m ten, and my tiny country school has sent the Grade 5 and 6 class (all 15 of us) 550kms/370 miles to Sydney. We tour the harbour, a historic site, and lunchtime has us sitting on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. Frankly, we’re all overwhelmed. Our town doesn’t even have three hundred people living there, only enough for one pub, a library the size of two parking spaces, and the nearest restaurant or cinema is two hours’ drive away. To be under the hot sun in Sydney, where it looks like the entire world has come for lunch, with different languages and smells and weird looking people whirling around us – I try to absorb every detail and not freak out at the same time.

My teacher, also the school principal, comes over. “Kellie, I have a favour to ask of you.” I look at him, bewildered. “See that lady over there?” he points quickly to where his wife (another teacher) is standing next to a lady with smiling eyes, both of whom are watching me. “She’s a tour guide, and her group” another vague wave another ten paces to the left “- would like to have their photo taken with you.”

“My photo?” I repeat, confused. I’m never asked to be IN a photo. I’m the odd looking one, with Band-Aids always on both knees, freshly grown front teeth finally descended, a wonky donkey amongst the fillies and thoroughbreds in my class. “Yes, your photo” he repeats. “Would you mind? They would really appreciate it.”

I stand, obedient, and he walks me over to the ladies, where the one with smiling eyes kind of nods at me then walks backwards, nodding and gesturing to me all the way. Then, I’m surrounded. By a shifting group of adults barely taller than I am – FLASH a camera shouts – another set of people gather around me, while in front at least ten more take their own photos while the tour guide nods between dazzling me with her monster flash. After several minutes the (Chinese? Japanese?) group murmurs something to me, nod and are led off towards the building, a bobbing sea of dark hair and smiling eyes. I’m sure that in every photo, at least one person was touching me.

No, not touching me. They wanted to touch and photograph my hair.

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Curl, Interrupted

By Brooke Benton

Let’s talk about my hair.

Its been a topic of conversation my entire life. Beginning when I was born completely bald till now, when people comment on my younger daughter’s delicate tangle of almost-curls by saying, “She has your hair!” And I will correct them with a simple, “No she doesn’t. When I was her age I had a ‘fro.” No exaggerations here, it was a legitimate Afro piled atop my head—it grew out, not down.

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On Hair

By Melissa Young

I went to the hospital a few weeks ago to visit a friend. I asked for her room number at the information desk, then weaved my way through the halls until I found it. It was not a private room. I glanced in and saw that each of the four beds held a white-haired patient, so I turned around and went back to the nurses’ station to check the number again (my friend’s hair is salt and pepper–mostly pepper).

The nurse told me that the room number was correct. Confused, I went back. The patient in the first bed waved me in. It was my friend, almost bald with just a few white tufts. She apologized for the confusion, telling me that she’d lost most of her hair a few years ago because of a thyroid problem and now wears a wig.

The experience shocked me. Not because of how different she looked, but because I had unknowingly used hair as my primary identifier. I didn’t even look at the faces.

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The Long and the Short (and the Straight and the Curly) of It

By Kylie Turley

SO I’M SHALLOW. I should be writing some deep essay about love, life, depression, or death, and instead I choose to tell you about my hair. You see, here’s the deal: it used to be curly. Not a little curly, but crazy-gorgeous, wavy-brunette-curls curly. It was strangers-stop-me-on-the-street-to-ask-about-it curly. I admit that for a few teenage years, …

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Dying Hair

By Darlene Young

Leaning over the bathtub rinsing the dye out of my hair, I notice that the droplets splattered on the porcelain look like blood. It reminds me of my mother, whose death had nothing to do with blood or bathtubs or hair-dye, but who had always prided herself on not coloring her hair: “It crosses the …

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